Blackpool gets direct rail link with London

Virgin Trains has received the green light from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to run direct services from Blackpool to London Euston.

Virgin TrainsThe new route will commence in December 2014 and is part of a range of service improvements on the West Coast Main Line route that coincide with the award of Virgin Trains’ extended franchise.

Blackpool North will benefit from the introduction of a daily trip to London Euston on weekdays. The service will depart at 05:25 and is due to call also at Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton le Flyde, Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Nuneaton before arriving in London at 08:34. The return service from London Euston departs at 16:33 and arrives back in Blackpool at 19:31.

It will first run on December 15th. A new link between Shrewsbury and London will be introduced a day earlier.

“It’s an exciting time for everyone involved with Virgin Trains,” explained Lead Executive Phil Whittingham. “With our extended franchise we are able to get back to doing what we do best, offering new journey opportunities whilst still delivering the same high standards of service to our customers.

“We have worked hard with our industry partners to gain the approval for these new services. Special thanks must go to the ORR, Network Rail and the Department for Transport. We thank them all for this big vote of confidence.”

“We couldn’t be more pleased and are really looking forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure they are a success and become a permanent fixture of the railway timetable.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "Direct trains between London and Blackpool and Shrewsbury will be a valuable addition to the services which already connect both towns to the rest of the rail network. They will provide greater business and leisure opportunities and will support and develop local economic growth as a result of improved access to the capital. “We have worked closely with Virgin Trains, the ORR and the wider industry to make this possible to help meet the demands of passengers and will continue to do so ahead of the first services being introduced in December 2014.”